Thursday 23 June 2005

NB Honey - Napton to Hampton Court

Honey July 2005
Napton to Hampton Court

NB Honey acted as a bridge between my boating of the 60's 70's and early 80's and our present day ownership of Wand'ring Bark.

Honey belonged to one of my more unconventional friends, Mr Primrose, mainly to provide accommodation when he visited his Birmingham based restaurant business. In addition to using Honey as a floating caravan at Calf Heath, he also used it as accommodation when he attended horticultural shows around the country including Chelsea, Gardeners World, Hampton Court and Tatton nr Manchester, showcasing his award winning collection of Hostas. The problem was that Mr P was neither a boater nor an engineer, so enlisted all the friends he could to move it round the country on his behalf.

Honey was (and I guess still is) a 36 foot Springer built around 1980 and subsequently subjected to sustained and unadulterated neglect. Don't get me wrong, I have quite a soft spot for Springers and I have seen some great examples where love and care has been poured on them by their owners, and resulted in boats of considerable character. Honey certainly had character, but little else.

  • Her original Lister two cylinder air cooled engine was a nightmare to start and tended to seize when it got too hot
  • Stern gland was shot and water came in at a steady dribble
  • Bilge Pump kept clogging with assorted debris lurking under the engine (a severe problem when taken with the stern gland)
  • Water also came in via the tiller bearing adding to the bilge pump woes
  • The batteries had been repeatedly drained to zero by the fridge being left on, so refused to hold a decent charge
  • The chimney was a solid bit of cast iron from the stove upwards, and had been knocked off at roof level by Mr P on his maiden voyage
  • About half the electrics were US
  • In spite of partial overplating, some bits of the hull were perilously thin to the point of being scary
  • The external blue paint job was at least 10 years old and the rust patches were the size of saucers.
My first and most sustained contact with Honey was when she was in her "raw" state and she had just completed her first London trip to Little Venice and the 2005 Chelsea Flower Festival. It appears that an elderly couple had completed the journey down in 10 days and were beset by mechanical failures. After a month in London (mooring rules and the like never featured high on Mr P's list of priorities) another friend had brought it back as far as Napton and within striking distance of the NEC, ready for me to take it down the South Oxford and then the Thames to Hampton Court.

My association with Honey therefore brought me back into contact with the inland waterways and more specifically, allowed me to build a relationship with Calf Heath Marina where WB is now moored.

The following blog entries cover my trips in Honey in 2005 / 6. I can't find any photos for this trip, which is strange, but maybe Matilda will be able to provide some material I can post at a later date. (Nb - have found a picture of her, now called Anna Devon on the Web - April 09 - see above)

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